The Reading: Isaiah 36-39
“Isaiah said … ‘This is what the Lord says …’” (37:5) RSV
All that we have read in 2 Kings over the last few weeks is more or less repeated in these four chapters of Isaiah. They serve to emphasise how much Isaiah was involved in the nitty-gritty of politics and national affairs. Woe betides any church that lives only for its own growth and its local situation. We are part of a movement that seeks to bring God’s timely words of warning or encouragement to those in power.
Isaiah seems to have been a lone, yet much respected voice. We should welcome any opportunity that is offered to us, or our church leaders, to be involved in national or local affairs. Our mission is not just to individuals, though of course it is that. Our mission is to the world that God made and loves.
Isaiah was at the King’s side to encourage his religious reforms. He was there when Assyria was at the gates of Jerusalem. He was there at Hezekiah’s life-threatening illness. And he was there when Hezekiah betrayed the nation and thereby invoked God’s judgement.
A prophet is not there so much to foretell, as to forth-tell. He has the task of bringing God’s immediate and relevant word to people. Whereas the priest represents the people to God, the prophet represents God to the people. The prophet needs to spend time with God so that he has an open ear. He also needs to spend time keeping up-to-date with local and world affairs. Within himself he brings God and the world together, and then hears what God has to say and what God is doing.
Jesus (our PROPHET, priest and king) said that he only did what he saw his Father doing (John 5:19), and only said what he heard his Father say (e.g. John 15:15). In our own small way we need to follow in his footsteps. And we need to pray for Christians who have access to high places, that they may be courageous. We also need to pray that people of influence will be prepared to heed the truth.
Lord, you have called your Church to be a prophetic voice in this fallen world. Help us by word and deed to fulfil this high calling. Amen.
1 What did John the Baptist say to Herod?
2 What did Peter and John say to the religious leaders?